How Assisted Living Collaborates with Higher Education

What is the value of a degree, an education? That question is being hotly debated right now; tuition prices continue to rise and the popularity of online programs is causing the image of traditional college to change. Yet, despite this, the value of education itself remains high. And within Assisted Living, collaborations with educational entities can benefit both employees and residents.

Programs for Current Employees

Assisted Living Team Members Employees AssociatesMany Assisted Living providers encourage their employees to pursue higher education. In addition to traditional tuition reimbursement programs, there are also programs that operate on a smaller, grassroots scale, such as the scholarship program at Foothill Village. According to Executive Director Debbie Ponte, the scholarship program arose from a very real need she saw in Angels Camp.

“Angels Camp is a small community of 3300 people,” says Ponte. “We’re a close-knit group and we tend to take care of each other. This is what we do at Foothill Village, too, by caring for our residents.” Ponte says it’s only natural that, as part of the Angels Camp community, the residents would want to do the same. “Supporting our community-at-large is just part of the culture here. It’s something we do naturally.”

She continues, “The two high schools in the area give out scholarships to each graduating class. But, as we were
approaching our first year in business, we noticed that some were not receiving any assistance. I wanted to encourage my employees who were interested in pursuing their education, so I went to the residents and explained my plan to start a scholarship program.” She says that the idea was for each employee graduating from high school that year to receive a scholarship to be used towards the school of their choice. In the first year, they gave three scholarships of $200 each, which were donated by residents.

The program has continued since then, and has grown to include the children of employees who are graduating
from middle school, high school, or college.

Programs to Encourage New Employees

Careers in Assisted LivingThe Gerontology Department at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) has had a long and fruitful partnership
with Assisted Living communities in the surrounding area. Nancy Schier Anzelmo, a professor in the department and
Principal at Alzheimer’s Care Associates, says that she has been taking her Gerontology students to Hank Fisher
Properties for about 15 years to fulfill the service learning component of her class. “It is an upper division class to prepare students for the workforce and their internships in the field… it really helps to give them face to face time with elders and opens their eyes to the field of Assisted Living.” The previous semester, she says, 82 students participated in the program, partnering with residents of the Chateau at River’s Edge. “It is an amazing partnership and I am very grateful to Hank Fisher Properties!”

The students taking Gerontology 101 at CSUS are also invited to Eskaton communities by Teri Tift, a fellow CSUS
Gerontology professor and Eskaton’s Executive Director of Quality & Compliance.

According to Tift, the Gerontology department was on the small side when she first started teaching. “It is exciting to see how the department has grown over the past 12 years. Interest in aging has also grown in other departments at CSUS.” This suggests that, as interest in aging studies grows, so too will the opportunities for Assisted Living communities to collaborate with universities.

Scholarship to Attend CALA’s Fall Conference & Trade Show

CALA Student Scholarship ProgramStudents, are you interested in learning more about Assisted Living? Do you want access to providers in your area who are looking for dedicated, enthusiastic interns and employees? Apply for a scholarship to attend the CALA Fall Conference & Trade Show in Pomona, CA.

After experiencing the conference & trade show for herself, one scholarship recipient had this to say:

After this wonderful experience I am truly convinced I have found my niche. Now I can take all this wonderful knowledge and go out in the field and truly make a difference in the lives of our elderly population.

See if Assisted Living is the career path for you…apply for a scholarship today! Deadline: September 30th

This post excerpted from “Class Acts,” an article first published in CALA News & Views Summer 2014.


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